If there is an unsung hero of the moon race, it is the Lunar Orbiter program of 1966 and 1967. There were five unmanned spacecraft, resembling stubby candleholders with 12-foot-diameter solar arrays at their bases.
On board each were two large telescopes that could focus on objects as small as a yard, along with specially built Kodak cameras using 70-millimeter film. An on-board darkroom developed the lunar images and prepared them for transmission back to Earth. Their mission was to map the entire surface of the moon in preparation for the Apollo landings -- and all five performed magnificently.
Now, long-forgotten film from those missions has been brought to life through the determination of a now-retired JPL archivist.
Full story from the Los Angeles Times.